Marriage and parenting

First comes love, then come marriage, then comes baby, and then another baby, and then HOLY HELL what happened to us?

When I was about to take my first maternity leave, a senior executive at the company where I worked called me into her office and then got misty-eyed as she told me how magical the first month with a new baby is for two new parents to share.  She described awesome joy and pride and compared it to a second honeymoon. My husband had planned to take four weeks off from work, and I’m so glad he did.  We were so pleased with ourselves and even though I felt like I had been run over by a truck between my C-Section recovery and my excruciating nursing pain, I felt the love for my husband that had been predicted by that veteran mom. When I tell expectant moms about it now, I get teary-eyed myself. It’s an amazingly special feat to create a child together and enjoying that bond is truly a great pleasure.

The honeymoon with our first child
“Honeymoon” on Lake Michigan

When my second child was a fussy newborn, the honeymoon– and paternity leave– was shorter. My husband had the same compassion and sensitivity for my recovery and renewed job as a mama cow, but with a two-and-a-half-year old in the mix, I spent more time thinking about him as another set of hands than as a fantastic guy that I had chosen to marry. I suddenly started to suspect that all the times I heard my own divorced parents and other divorced parents say, “It is not about you,” to their child, might not be entirely true. How could it not be? Children impact a marriage. Even if they’re not a strain, they’re certainly a distraction, and if we don’t acknowledge that, we’re in serious denial.

It’s never surprising to me when a reader or friend, especially one with kids under four years old, asks what strategies will help keep a relationship on track during the most intense, hectic child-rearing years. When such a question came in recently, I was inspired to share some wise words from our friend Asha of Minimalist Parenting.  She made this video for Kids in the House and I think it offers some great perspective: Tips for maintaining a strong marriage while parenting.


The following two tabs change content below. co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.